Since then, Oculus has continually improved and refined the Rift en route to a consumer release later this year. The display has been kicked up to 1080p; the form factor has become sleeker. Perhaps most importantly for adoption, potential latency has been greatly reduced, alleviating much of the “simulator sickness” that can accompany wearing VR headsets. And now, with another CES upon us, others are getting in on the act; Sony announced a new head-mounted display for movie viewing and games. It should be noted, though, that this is unlikely to be a direct competitor to the Rift — Sony’s unit gives wearers a 45-degree field of vision, compared to the Rift’s staggering 110 degrees.
Oculus unveiled even more this morning. There’s a new demo, courtesy of Epic Games. There’s a new AMOLED screen. There’s low persistence, a display technology that mitigates motion blur and “smearing,” both of which can contribute to user discomfort. For the first time, Rift is capable of positional tracking, which allows users to lean and move within the game environment by simply moving their head. And there’s a new prototype — known as “Crystal Cove” — that incorporates it all, getting latency down to around 30 milliseconds (on its way to the sub-20 threshold that Oculus considers the holy grail).
The new demo is visually similar to a previous demo that Oculus used throughout 2013 to show off the Rift’s immersive 360-degree playspace. Both were designed by Epic Games, and both occur within the universe of “Elemental,” Epic’s Unreal 4 game engine demo. The new demo places the user inside the same stone cave, facing the same horned lava-god/monster being as in the previous demo (bear with us here). This time, users play a top-down tower-defense scenario while the horned lava-god/monster guy watches. Like the two previous demos, the visual effects are plentiful.